I woke in Bighorn NP this morning to the sounds of silence and smell of fresh pine…ah, nice. I made/ate breakfast and drove the 7 miles back to highway 16 and headed west. The Western side of Bighorn was even more beautiful than the Eastern side as you descend for 7 miles through the canyon.
After I exited Bighorn NP I went through the small town of Tensleep WY. This is where I passed the “Horse Hotel”.
Now, while I’m sure this is probably not unusual for anyone in Wyoming (or many other Western states) it just sounded kind of funny to me so I had to stop and take a picture. 🙂
From there I drove on to the town of Worland, WY where I pulled into a McDonald’s to spend some time on the internet. I spent a couple of hours there writing a blog post and looking for an Airbnb between here and Yellowstone. Although I found several most of them were whole houses and very expensive. I finally found one in the town of Greybull, WY that had everything I look for (wifi, laundry, kitchen) in a place and was reasonable. I booked it and sent a message to the host. I waited in Worland (blogged while waiting) to make sure the room was confirmed (for most Airbnb locations you have to receive a confirmation from the host before the booking is final) because Greybull was about 45 minutes north of where I was. When my host contacted me to confirm he told me that they were hosting a birthday dinner for one of their friends and I was happy to join them if I wished. I was more than happy to join them so I finished the post, packed up and headed north.
When I arrived in Greybull it only took a few minutes to find my place for the evening. I was met at the door by my host Patrick. He welcomed me in, introduced me to his wife Dea and a couple of friends. The birthday boy had not yet arrived so I had not held them up (I was relieved). He took me downstairs and showed me where everything was and told me if I needed anything to just let them know. I got settled in, took a shower and went upstairs to visit with my hosts.
When I came upstairs everyone had arrived and they were just starting dinner. They grabbed another chair, handed me a plate and told me to dig in….yeah, these are my kind of people! 🙂 Dea had made a delicious french dip and Patrick made the sauce. It was delicious, so I had two….well, I didn’t want to insult my hosts ;-). After dinner we sat and talked for a little while and then I went down to my room to check some email and upload the pics from the hike. About an hour later I went back upstairs and everyone was out in the sun-room talking. I joined them and we had some great conversations for an hour or two. Patrick and Dea are good folks. He works at the Georgia-Pacific gypsum mill. Gypsum is used for several things but here (if I remember correctly) they make wallboard. Apparently Wyoming is a large gypsum mining state. They used to live in CO but moved here about 7 years ago. They really like the area and have developed a good core group of friends around Greybull. This is the reason I love doing Airbnb for the people you meet and the conversations you have.
The next morning Dea fixed a huge breakfast of eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast. Wow it was good! After breakfast I went downstairs to finish the blog I started last night and packed up. When I came up Patrick and Dea had left to run some errands so I left them a note and headed out. All-in-all I definitely enjoyed my time in Greybull and it was a pleasure to meet Patrick, Dea and their friends. If you ever find yourself if north central Wyoming looking for a place to stay I would highly recommend staying with Patrick and Dea. Tell them Stephen sent you. 🙂
As I was driving out of Greybull I passed the local airfield where they were having drag races today (this was Saturday). Patrick had told me about it last night but I knew I would not have time so I had forgotten it was happening. Although I didn’t have time to go to the races, I saw several vintage airplanes as I passed so I stopped to check them out. From what I could gather it was a museum dedicated to planes they used to fight forest fires. Most of them where old WWII planes that were converted to hold water for forest fire fighting. It was pretty cool….
From Greybull it was a straight shot, and only about 40 minutes to Cody, WY . Along the way I saw the official smallest town that I have seen on this trip…Emblem, WY. Needless to say, there was not very much to see or do in Emblem, WY 🙂 so I continued on to Cody.
For me, Cody, WY was one of those western towns that I’ve always heard and known about my whole life but had never been. And it just so happens that the Eastern entrance to Yellowstone goes right through Cody, so here I am. My SOP (standard operating procedure) when I arrive in a new town (small towns anyway) is to go to the downtown area first, maybe spend a few minutes on Google looking for things to do or see and then take some time just to drive around and check it out. So with that said, I headed for downtown Cody. Cody seemed like a nice little town with quite a few shops, restaurants and other things in the downtown area.
One of the things I saw on-line that looked a little interesting was a place called Old Trail Town. It was only a mile or so from where I was so I figured I would check it out. As I approached the street to turn to Old Trail Town I saw some things ahead so I drove on a little ways. About 1/2 mile farther I stumbled across Stampede Park the home of the Cody WY Rodeo. So what do you do on a Saturday afternoon in Cody WY? Go to the rodeo of course! 🙂
I pulled in and took a few pictures but really wasn’t planning to go as I needed to move on to get to Yellowstone before dark and I wasn’t going to pay whatever to see just a few minutes of the rodeo. But as I sat there looking around I noticed people just walking in, so I figured if they could I could to so I got out and followed them. It turns out that this was actually a competition between two colleges…like Eastern colleges would play basketball or baseball. How cool!
I didn’t stay too long but I did get to see the girls Breakaway Roping and some of the men’s Calf Roping. I have to say, although I very much enjoyed visiting the ballparks and stadiums during the first part of this trip (see posts from first 5 days) I do love a stadium that allows you to bring your dog! 🙂
While I was watching I had a great conversation with a man from Connecticut named Ferris who was retired and traveling across the country in a camper. We talked for a while about the corporate life and how glad we both were to be out of it and all of the places we had been and things we had seen. I really enjoyed our conversation and hearing about his life but I reluctantly had to move on if I was going to make Yellowstone before dark.
After I left the rodeo I stopped by Old Trail Town for a few minutes but knew I did not have time to tour it now. It looked pretty cool. Maybe next time.
From there I grabbed a quick bite, filled up the gas and stopped to get some food to take into Yellowstone and some ice for the cooler. Then I said a goodbye to Cody and once again headed west. Cody is somewhere that I wouldn’t mind coming back to some day.
A few miles outside of Cody is the Buffalo Bill Dam. This is one of the places I had seen on Google earlier and really wanted to see. Unfortunately however, the visitors center was closed (by 10 minutes) when I arrived. 🙁 It was probably for the best as I was now running quite late in my desire to be in Yellowstone before dark. So I spent a few minutes reading the signs and information about the dam, the lake and the local history.
Between Cody and Yellowstone you drive through the Shoshone National Forest. Of course I only saw a little of it during the drive in but it was definitely beautiful land.
After 45 minutes or so of driving I finally reached the east entrance of Yellowstone and I happily handed them my all access pass card and ID. 🙂
From that point it is still 19 miles to the Fishing Bridge visitors center which is where I was hoping to reach before they closed and of course the speed limit throughout Yellowstone is 45 (or slower)….which I probably not bad since you routinely see Buffalo and other wildlife on the roads in Yellowstone. And although I was in a hurry I had to stop and take some pictures of the beautiful scenery along the way….
I made it to the visitors center at 6:55 just 5 minutes before they closed. My hope was to get some back country information (hikes, permits, etc.) and possibly even hike in before dark. However, I found out that the “back country” office was in a different location and it closed at 5! Ugh! So I got some minimal information and went on my way as it was obvious they were in a hurry to get out.
My next order of business was to find a place to cook my supper. I located a picnic area by the lake on the map I received when I entered the park so that’s where I headed. But before I reached the picnic area I got my first Yellowstone wildlife experience of this trip (I saw buffalo here during a very brief trip several years ago)…..
He was just walking beside the road minding his own business and paying no attention to the crowd of people and cars and the poor ranger who was trying to keep the people away and from crashing into each other. 🙁 I often wonder if the animals look at us and think, “stupid humans”?
I made it to the picnic area about 20 minutes before dark. There were two tables and one was occupied by a young couple and their son. I asked if they minded if I used the other table and they welcomed me. As I quickly made my supper (before it got completely dark) I began a conversation with my dinner “neighbors”. Their names were Tim, Tenika, Warren and their dog Daisy. Of course I spoke to the dog first (ha ha) as he came over to visit. As it turns out they were from Greybull (as the title of my web page says, it is a small world). And Tenika had actually hiked Cloud Peak (see “Devils Tower, Bighorn NP, Cloud Peak” post) just a few weeks earlier. Immediate respect for her! 🙂 We had a great conversation and talked until it was completely dark and we were all wearing head lamps. They were awesome! Tim told me about his 2 year mission trip in South America and they gave me great information about hikes in/around Yellowstone and things to see and do….and fresh cantaloupe from their garden. 🙂 I really wished it was not so late because I would have loved to have stayed and talked with them for hours. But eventually we had to call it a “night” and head out. I did exchange contact and social media information with them so we’ll stay in touch and hopefully our paths will cross again someday.
My last stop of the day was the Lake Lodge . It looked like the quintessential Yellowstone log lodge that you would picture. It was very nice. Although I was not staying there, I sat in the large lobby in front of a fire and wrote a blog post and visited the gift shop to look through hiking books to get some information on the best hikes in the park. It was a great way to end another great day.
To view many more pictures related to this blog click here: US & BC Canada 2017 Pics – Wyoming
To view ALL videos related to this blog click here: US & BC Canada 2017 Videos